Thursday, March 12, 2015

the black metal of POSTHUM (Norway)

Posthum (Norway): The Black Northern Ritual (Indie Recordings)
The 2012 album “Lights Out” showed that Posthum can play black metal, but it also demonstrated that the band wanted to move away from black metal, as if Posthum was somewhat uncomfortable with the category of black metal. Perhaps they were hesitant about certain things: How to play black metal if you are a Norwegian band and not be accused of copying the older generations? How to play black metal and find your own way within the genre? How to sound like Posthum; what exactly is the musical direction of Posthum?
Whereas “Lights Out” sounded ambivalent about the band’s identity, there is one thing that you can take to the bank about Posthum and this new album “The Black Northern Ritual”: The band has found its black metal mojo and sounds positively rejuvenated. In the process, Posthum, as it turns out, does have something to offer to black metal listeners.
The band sounds a lot more confident playing modern, part grip/part melodic uptempo black metal. From a metal perspective, these songs connect a lot faster with the listener. One no longer gets the feeling that Posthum is trying to get away from its heritage of metal. For instance, “Demon Black Skies” sounds close to necro, classic black metal, but there is a smidge of melancholic melodies at work, even with this headbanging tune. Then, on “To the Pits” the band expands its wings and we begin to hear in a more full way how Posthum utilizes the spiraling tremolo guitar work for the creation of melancholy, wrapped in black metal. Then, on a song like “Vinter” the tempo is slowed down to melancholy, depression black metal, which adds to the variety of moods that the band works with.
Overall, this album sounds like Posthum has found its way of being black metal and still have the space to be Posthum. It is very pleasing to hear a Norwegian band making this type of album. The band is saying with this album, “Yes, Posthum is black metal.” I had the feeling that we might lose Posthum to “post-rock” or “post-metal,” and that years down the road we would find them making weird music of the abstract/absurdist kind. It’s nice to see Posthum stay metal and get more comfortable within its own skin and its own metal heritage.
Posthum - "The Black Northern Ritual"

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